Sun’s Dawn, 4E 173
Captain Jon Lonely-Gale’s ship was due back in Windhelm, and Mercer Frey watched the docks with a keen eye. Of course, he was always watching the docks. Cargo would come and go, money would change hands, shipments would move to the interior or, occasionally, disappear.
Mercer’s aptitude for creative logistics had gotten him this post, and he’d thrived here. When instances of piracy began to spike as privateers exploited the war-torn Empire’s strained defenses, it was Mercer’s idea to start sending Guild ships out to sea. The more goods made it to shore, he’d said, the more coin in merchants’ pockets. More coin on land, more coin in the Guild’s coffers.
Gallus had been thrilled. Intrigue on the high seas? Opportunities to win the favor of wealthy shipowners and importers? It had been an easy sell, and it gave Mercer plenty of opportunity to chase the more cathartic pursuits of violence and sabotage. He’d put together a crew of brigands, and he’d led their raids on pirate vessels until he’d identified a few commanders he could trust. For the past year he’d mostly stayed on land in Windhelm—he wasn’t expendable, Gallus had said, he couldn’t keep throwing himself in harm’s way—but every so often he’d head over to their base of operations in Dawnstar and run a raid.
He’d been back in Windhelm for just over a week now, recovering from a particularly rough but lucrative take near Solitude. Jon’s ship had passed through while he was away. It had been nearly two months since they were in port at the same time.
He and an Argonian associate were playing cards over a shipping crate when Mercer caught sight of the familiar curves and banners of Jon’s vessel. Mercer laid down his hand. The Argonian nodded and Mercer moved to loiter near the city gates.
He was waiting a while, keeping track of the movements of ships and people as the sun began to set. But eventually, a broad, dark-haired sailor dressed in heavy furs made his way toward the gates, slowing as he approached Mercer’s hooded form.
Mercer opened his jacket and pulled a bottle of wine from an inside pocket. It was already open, half-drunk. He held it out to the sailor, who took it, swirled it around, and laughed.
“You made me wait,” Mercer said. Jon pulled the cork and took a long drink, sighing and licking the corners of his mouth as he handed the bottle back.
They entered the gates and headed toward Mercer’s house.
“Missed you last time,” Jon said.
“Go anywhere interesting?”
“Went and burned a pirate ship.”
“That was you?”
Mercer smiled with both menace and pride. “We had a good time.”
They settled in at the house, finished the wine, talked about the raid, about Jon’s travels, about city gossip.
Jon lounged on the bed. He'd kicked off his boots and was idly running a hand over the thick furs. "So what did you do with the stolen goods you undoubtedly lifted from the ship before you burned it?"
Mercer raised an eyebrow as he emptied his pockets onto the desk. "We're thieves, what do you think we did? Kept them as 'payment for services rendered,' as Gallus would say. He figures we take the loot as a tax to pay for the protection we offer from piracy. Merchant ships end up safer in the long run, we have the capital to do more raiding. And more goods make it to shore, where we can, you know, steal them." He shrugged.
"That almost sounds like an actual coast guard," Jon said. "With extortion and profiteering, but still."
Mercer groaned and rubbed his jaw. "Don't remind me," he said. "Gallus wants us to be respectable. I just want to be the roguish highwayman who scandalizes old ladies and corrupts innocent farm boys."
Jon settled himself back into the pillows. "Is that right?" His tone changed, suddenly hungry, impatient. "That’s what you’d like to play?"
And there it was. They’d been politely avoiding it while they caught up, but it had been two months. Mercer had fucked a stranger in Dawnstar, but that had mostly been for the dubious benefit of intimidating his crew with the wretched sounds coming from his cabin. He hadn’t been fucking much of anyone lately, except Jon. He’d never asked what Jon got up to while he was away.
Mercer stood and stepped over to the bed in two long strides. He leaned down, arms closing Jon in against the headboard. "Oh," he said, breath on Jon's cheek, "always."
Mercer walked to the opposite side of the room and leaned against the door, arms crossed, looking Jon up and down as if calculating his value. Jon sat up straight on the edge of the bed, eyes on the floor, shy and tense.
Mercer smiled a wicked grin. He loved this part, loved watching Jon change. The first time they'd done this, Mercer hadn't expected him to keep pace—as a professional liar, Mercer had assumed his acting skills would be difficult to match. But Jon had shocked him.
"So, boy," Mercer said, sharp and condescending, "what do you know about the world?"
Jon looked up, lips tight with confusion. "I—I don't know what you mean, sir."
Sir. He'd played the card already. Mercer pushed back a groan and began to move slowly closer to the bed. "What I mean," he said, "and I do apologize for not being clear, is what do you know about why people do the things they do? What makes people keep going, day after day?" As an opening, it wasn't great; it didn't come out like he'd planned. But they'd get into the rhythm quickly enough.
Jon looked up at him, eyebrows tight. "Well, sir, their families, sometimes, I suppose."
Mercer nodded, but gave a look that said he wasn't impressed. "Some people don't have families, farm boy. What about them?"
"Maybe, others they care for? Friends, lovers?"
"And what about people who don't even have that? No family, no home, no loved ones to inspire their actions. What might motivate those people?"
Jon searched, trying to find the answer Mercer was looking for. His eyes widened, and Mercer knew he'd found it. "Fun, sir. I expect they might do the things they do for fun."
"Clever boy. Tell me," Mercer said, crouching down to Jon's knees, looking up at his apprehensive face, "what is it you like to do for fun?"
Jon swallowed nervously. "Um, well, my sister and I go fishing sometimes—"
Mercer suppressed a laugh, hiding his twitching smile behind his hand. He stood up enough to bring his lips to Jon's ear. "I was thinking about things you're not supposed to do with your sister."
Jon flushed and stammered. "O—oh, uh—"
"Ever had that sort of fun, farm boy? Strapping young man like you, I can't imagine no one's eaten you up yet."
Jon shook his head quickly. "N—no, sir. It's, uh, it's a small town, no one's—"
"I see your hands twitching, pretty thing," Mercer said, one finger under Jon's chin, tilting his head up. "I think you at least know how to have fun on your own."
Jon balled his fists in his lap and cast his eyes down.
Mercer bit the inside of his lip. "What is it you think about, I wonder, when you take yourself in hand?"
Jon stayed quiet, kept avoiding eye contact.
"It's all right," Mercer said, stepping back, giving Jon space. "I want you to tell me."
Jon took a deep breath. He released one fist and started to worry at the side of his trousers. "I—sometimes I think about a woman's hand, sir, instead of my own."
"But that's not quite enough, is it. What else do you think about?"
Jon shifted the position of his hips and spread both hands across his lap. Mercer felt his own blood rising. "I think about being inside a woman. My—a friend told me. What it feels like."
"Oh, pretty thing, what did your friend say it feels like?" It was something Jon liked, the affectionate, belittling pet names. Mercer could watch his lips quirk and his nostrils flare with each repetition.
Jon breathed deep through his nose and finally brought his gaze back to Mercer's face. "Warm and wet and pulsing, sir, and welcoming, uh—"
"Mm, and your friend wasn't wrong." Mercer reached out to run his hand over Jon's hair. "Is there anything else you think about?"
Jon shivered and leaned into the touch. "Once, I saw, in the barn—two of the farmhands. They were—" Jon shifted his hips again. "One man was inside the other, and they were—"
Mercer pressed his fingertips into Jon's scalp. "What kinds of sounds were they making, pretty thing?"
A quiet whine fell from Jon's throat. "I'd never heard anything like it before. I don't know how to—"
"How would you like to have those sounds spilling out of you, sweet boy?"
Jon openly groaned then, breath hitching and eyes closing, nodding vigorously. "Y—yes, sir. I—yes."
Permission now granted, Mercer moved his hand to the side of Jon's face, fingertips grazing against his rough beard, thumb tracing over his parted lips. "Tell me, pretty thing, what would you like me to do?" His fingers ghosted over Jon's throat now, his collarbones, his chest.
"I'd like you to fuck me, sir." There was no hesitation in Jon's voice now, just thick, urgent desire. Mercer swallowed hard and tried not to focus on the coiling want sending his own hips twitching forward into nothing.
"And I'd be happy to oblige. But first," Mercer knelt between Jon's legs and gently rubbed his hands along his thighs, "I'd like to get a taste of that untouched, needy cock." As for his own needy cock, Mercer discreetly rutted against a chest below the bed, relieving some pressure even as the motion worsened it.
Jon tentatively touched Mercer's hair, chest rising and falling heavily. Mercer took hold of Jon's hand and pushed his fingers through the strands, encouraging the contact, licking his lips as he worked a palm to Jon's inner thigh. Jon hummed. "Please, sir," he said, "I want—oh, please."
Mercer smiled with unfeigned affection and pressed a cheek to Jon's groin, running his face up over the conspicuous, straining bulge in his cotton trousers. He mouthed over the small spot that had been dampened by Jon's increasing want. Jon gripped Mercer's hair and sighed.
Once he'd slipped Jon's cock out of his waistband, it only took a few long, wet passes of Mercer's mouth before Jon was bucking and panting. Mercer held Jon up with a firm hand behind his back and groaned around the heavy length of him, licking and sucking and working himself down further. Jon keened and grabbed at Mercer's shoulders.
"W—wait, Mer—ah, sir, I—" Mercer stopped moving and looked up at Jon's flushed face. His expression was desperate, nearly panicked. "Please," Jon said, catching his breath. "I—I won't last, sir." Mercer nodded with his eyes and hummed as he eased Jon from his lips, sliding the head of him along the inside of his cheek and marking its exit with a languid lick. Spit and precome trailed obscenely from his chin.
"So eager, pretty thing, so sensitive." Mercer lifted Jon's tunic and wiped his mouth on his warm, solid flank. "It seems we'll need to pace ourselves, then." Mercer grazed his lips and teeth over the exposed flesh of Jon’s stomach. “Undress, sweet thing,” he said, running a knuckle along the coarse hairs of Jon’s jaw as he stood. “I’ll be right back.” Jon exhaled with a shudder and nodded.
Mercer crossed the room and eased out of his jacket, hanging it on the chair and rolling up the sleeves of his shirt. Facing away from the bed, hearing the soft sounds of fabric on flesh behind him, Mercer bit his lip and composed himself. His body’s demand for attention was becoming insistent, but he’d wait. He’d pull all the need and hunger out of Jon and Jon would beg and cry, and that was the corruption, wasn’t it? Coaxing and teasing until the sweet boy begs for the dangerous stranger’s cock like it's the only thing in the world he could ever possibly want? Fuck.
The bed still at his back, Mercer opened the desk drawer and removed the vial of oil tucked inside. One more bite of his lip, one more shift of his hips, a breath, and he turned to survey the man before him.
Jon was still sitting on the edge of the bed, so good, so demure. "Take your hair down," Mercer said, moving slowly closer, keeping his eyes focused, licking his lips. Jon ducked his head and carefully untied the leather band keeping his hair contained. Long, dark waves fell over the backs of his bare shoulders and down around the sides of his face. He set the band aside and looked up at Mercer expectantly.
Mercer closed the distance and ran a hand through Jon's hair, shaking the tangles loose and pulling his head gently back. "Oh, look at you," he said, setting the vial on the bed. Mercer lowered his head and breathed in the scent of him, salt and lamp oil and rope and pitch. He whispered against the top of Jon's head. "Lie back, pretty thing."
He steered Jon into the pillows and straddled his hips, Jon's cock lying hard and leaking against his navel, Mercer's pressing aggressively against his leathers. Mercer pulled himself forward to rub his stubble over Jon's neck. He stretched up to reach, and Jon curled into him, their hips grinding together with the motion. Jon brought a wary hand to Mercer’s waist, and Mercer rewarded the touch with a slow, wet kiss behind his ear.
Mercer breathed onto the salty, heated skin of Jon’s neck, his lips and tongue and teeth touching lightly as he spoke. “You’ve been awfully quiet, farm boy. What’s on your mind?”
Jon’s throat contracted against Mercer’s lips. “Just—trying to calm down, sir.”
Mercer felt the corners of his lips spread into a predatory smile. “Not sure I want you calm, pretty thing.” Mercer sat back on the heels of his boots, and Jon followed him with a small whimper until Mercer pushed on his chest, willing him back down. Mercer paused to stare—Jon’s eyes wide and wanting, his chest heaving gently, his ready cock and spread legs a feast. He pressed his hands to the backs of Jon’s thighs and kneaded his fingers into the meaty flesh.
Retrieving the vial, Mercer poured some oil into his hand and rubbed it between his fingers. “Do you know what this is for, sweet thing?”
Jon watched Mercer’s hand intently and pressed his lips together. “I don’t think it’s too hard to guess, sir.”
“Then I won’t make you tell me. I think I have a pretty good guess as well.”
Mercer dipped down and slid a warm tongue along the crease of silky skin where thigh meets pelvis. Resting a cheek on one of Jon’s legs, he brought his oiled hand to the cleft of his ass, gliding back and forth. As he started to put pressure on his entrance, Jon tensed up. “Tell me what you want,” Mercer said, voice growing raspier.
“Please—” Jon said.
“That’s not enough.”
“Inside, sir, please. I’d like you to press your fingers inside.”
“We’ll just start with one, sweet thing. It might be uncomfortable.”
“Oh, please, sir, I want to try.”
Mercer massaged his fingers into the unyielding muscle, urging it to open. “Of course you do, hmm, because you remember those sounds, you remember the look on the farmhand’s face as his lover slammed into him. And you want it so, so badly, don’t you.”
“I do, sir, I—”
“Take a breath for me, pretty thing.” Jon did, and with his exhale Mercer slipped a finger into the clenching heat of him.
Jon gasped and whined and he was so, so good. “There you go,” Mercer said, “keep breathing, just relax. I’ve got you.” He rubbed his free hand up and down Jon’s side and laid a kiss on his twitching cock. The fluttering and gripping started to release and Mercer probed and pushed and stroked, and Jon clutched the furs and closed his eyes and made small, satisfied sounds in his throat. “What do you think about one more, little chicken?”
Jon snorted and sat up, then burst into full-on laughter. “Seriously?”
Mercer pulled his hand back and glared. “Shut up.” He pushed at Jon’s hip and pursed his lips into something between a pout and a warning. “I was trying to change it up. The farm thing, and the cock-rooster association. Just—fuck.” Jon kept laughing and kissed the top of Mercer’s head. “Shut up ,” Mercer said, punctuating his words with two rough fingers thrust hard and fast into Jon’s ass. Jon yelped and grabbed at Mercer’s hair, then let his head fall back with a sigh. Mercer’s knuckles smacked hard into Jon’s slick flesh with each stroke. “You don’t stay in character, you don’t get treated in character,” Mercer said. “And I know exactly how much of a pounding this ass can take, beautiful fucking cockslut.”
Jon’s lips were pressed tight and his breathing was labored. “Mm, no, I can—fuck, I can still. Sir, I can still—” Mercer eased his pace, released tension from his hand. Jon lay back down. “Ah, sir, that was—so much.”
Mercer spread his fingers apart, petting his walls, twisting and stretching. “Too much, little chicken?”
Jon was biting his tongue, holding his face incredibly still. His nose and upper lip twitched with imminent laughter. He coughed instead, body tightening around Mercer’s slowly-stroking hand. “No, sir,” he said, “it’s—it’s, ah, it's good.”
“Good.” Mercer brought his free hand to the base of Jon’s cock, lifting it, examining it. He gave a few lazy tugs, and Jon moaned. “And how’s this here?”
“It’s good.” He caught his breath. “But I haven’t—I want—” Jon pushed his torso up and put a hand on Mercer’s wrist. “I haven’t got a chance to see you, sir.”
Mercer purred against Jon’s leg. “I suppose you’re right, pretty thing.” He gently withdrew his fingers and sat up. “Keep this warm for me while I’m away,” he said with a last, long stroke of Jon’s cock.
He stepped off the bed and removed his boots, pulled his shirt over his head, unbuckled his belt. He turned to face Jon, who was watching with unmasked lust, working himself carefully, keeping the fire stoked but not blazing. Mercer knew what he looked like, knew that the evidence of his dangerous life was written on his body in scar tissue and muscle and bearing.
Jon’s brow tightened in concern, and Mercer realized what he’d forgotten. A fresh pink scar, obviously deep, running nearly the full width of his abdomen. He’d left that part out when telling Jon about the raid.
Jon’s hand had stopped, and he was moving to sit up. “Not to worry, sweet thing,” Mercer said. “Just a side-effect of being a dashing rogue.” He shrugged. Jon gave him a look that said we’ll talk about this later, then let it go.
Not that there would be any point in talking about it later. There was no traction to be had in talking Mercer out of the life he’d chosen. They’d continue to go about their radically different lives, and if those lives continued to intersect, great. But Mercer wouldn’t go dodging blades on anyone’s account but his own. He slid off his pants and sighed in relief, finally unconfined.
He stood still for a moment, watching Jon watch him. “Is it what you were hoping for, pretty thing?” His tone was darkening now, pushing closer.
Jon looked him over with a dazed expression and nodded. When Mercer didn’t move, Jon reached for him, rolling to his side, fingers grasping off the bed to the backs of Mercer’s knees.
Mercer relented and crawled back onto the bed, back between Jon’s legs, wedging one hand behind Jon’s neck. Jon reached for his cock, and Mercer guided him until their lengths were pressed together, their hands working in tandem. “Just like that, sweet thing, oh—exactly like that.” They rocked against each other, Mercer’s breath heavy and Jon’s lips spilling whispered blasphemies into his ear. “Tell me what you want,” Mercer said, voice urgent.
“I—mm, this is, I mean you’re so—ah, this is perfect, fuck, I—”
Mercer whined in his chest at the sound of Jon’s voice. He was panting now as he spoke. “Do you want it like this, sweet thing? Do you want me to come in your hand, pull the want right out of me and pour it all over your pretty fingers?”
“Fuck, Mercer, you fucking—” And he was gone, bucking up into Mercer’s hand, face twisting and mouth opening and seed pumping out, hitting his chest, sliding down between their palms. Jon’s come squelched wet around Mercer’s cock, and the gliding heat of it was too much. His chest heaved and his mouth sought Jon’s skin as he met his own pleasure, pulsing and sighing and groaning as he fell into the warm, wet tangle of them.
Their breaths grew less ragged and their skin less heated. Jon held Mercer up with his thighs, and Mercer stretched to the nightstand for a cloth to tend to the mess they’d made of Jon’s stomach and chest and beard. As Mercer’s limbs grew heavier, he rolled off to the side.
“Fuck,” he said, voice afterglow-tender but genuinely annoyed.
“We forgot to move the furs again.” Mercer flopped his head down on a pillow and tried not to lay in the puddle of rapidly cooling semen that had spilled between them.
Jon nudged at Mercer’s hip, coaxing him to roll onto his back. His expression was tight again, deeply sad in a way Mercer hadn’t seen before. Oh. Jon traced a finger over the long slice across Mercer’s torso.
“Pirate. Sword. Fairly predictable.”
“I . . . are you okay?”
“Are you asking for another round?”
Jon gave him a disapproving look. “I’m asking if you’re okay.”
“My other deflection is ‘you should see the other guy.’” Jon glared, and Mercer yielded, rolling to face him and brushing back his long hair. “I’m okay. If I wasn’t okay, you’d know.”
Jon’s face stayed sad. He opened his mouth to speak, then stopped, then started again. “If something happened to you—” Mercer tried to interrupt, but Jon held up a hand. “If something happened to you, how would I know?”
He’d thought about this too, thought about it a long while ago—not that he’d tell Jon that.
“Gallus would find you,” Mercer said, eyes on Jon’s chest. He felt so small next to this bear of a man. “He, uh, knows about us. He’s a good man. He’d make sure you knew.”
Jon looked down at him with a curious expression, something Mercer couldn’t place. He draped an arm over Mercer and pulled himself into the wet spot, running a thumb over Mercer’s shoulder blade and resting his chin on top of his head. Mercer curled loosely into Jon’s chest and stroked his ribcage, his elbow, his hip. They stayed like that for a while, until the room grew cool and dark.
Jon got up to rebuild the fire to last the night, and Mercer crawled under the covers, thinking of pirates and farm boys and handsome sailors, and wondering—not for the first time—how he’d gotten himself into something so dangerous.